Wordsmithing Magic from the Crossroads

Waite-Smith Tarot six of Swords image with boatman poling two shrouded figures across water

Weekly Tarot

April 15-21, 2024
Six of Swords

This journey then, is nothing more, yet nothing less than a period of acclimating to a new way of seeing, a time of transition and revelation…
Bernadette Roberts

This week, in which current events promise plenty of volatility, change, and agitation, the Tarot offers a calming influence, especially during inevitable transitions. Say hello to the Six of Swords.

As you probably know, Swords are the suit ruled by the element of Air. That means they focus on intellect, perception, communication, and the stories we share.

Artist Pamela Colman Smith has given the R-W-S version of the Six of Swords a mythic depth that hints of Charon, the ferryman who crosses the River Styx, carrying those who are departing the land of mortal life. Or he could be a boatman guiding the woman and child to the shores of Avalon.

Behind them are troubled waters, ahead is a calmer, yet unclear shore. As they glide towards the lands in the distance, they float lightly, not weighed down despite their cargo.

Although the swords are stuck through the bottom of the vessel, the boat does not appear to be in danger of sinking, hinting at how we may eventually adapt to even the most perilous or painful circumstances.Waite-Smith Tarot Five of Swords

Notice that the cloaked adult figure is bent over, like there is a weight on their shoulders. It is a demeanor of despair and even defeat. But both the child and ferryman are more upright, less burdened, and gazing forward.

The Sixes resolve the conflicts that are shown in the Fives. So in the case of Swords, the unfair defeat depicted in the Five has now led to a strategic retreat, or a withdrawal from the situation.

Sky Signs and Events

The Six of Swords shows a time of transition, of quiet change, and stands in contrast to the astrological intensity of this coming week.

Our expert astrologer Elisabeth Grace explains:

With the Sun in the last degrees of go-go-go, me-me-me Aries, supported by the easy flow among Mars (action!), Jupiter (expansion!) and Uranus (disruption!), not to mention the power play involving leaders of business and state suggested by the Sun’s square to Pluto on Sunday….it’s likely to be a busy week.

And next week, there are no exact aspects among the planets except for those involving the Moon. None of this activity may affect your own personal horoscope, but whatever hits the front page of the newspaper may be spectacular.

So get ready. There is no benefit in pushing the river or fighting the prevailing current. Allow the ferryman to guide you to new shores, even if they seem quite distant at the moment.

Elisabeth also discusses the approaching Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, exact this coming Saturday. She notes that the Sabian Symbol for this profound event, second in importance only to last week’s eclipse, is a  “white dove over troubled waters.”

That would be an image worth our focus.

It may trigger compassion (writes astrologer Blain Bovee), or a need to escape.

Stepping back, allowing the quiet passage of our vessel, and the progress of Time itself may be essential at this fraught moment. Despite all the sturm und drang pressing in, we might want to understand this as a rite of passage, potentially moving us to more peaceful shores.

Lorna Bevan adds her visionary insights regarding the coming week’s influences:

All boats are being lifted on this Jupiter/Uranus high tide, so raise your sails. Jupiter opens doors but you have to run through them. Uranus unshackles you.  Luck increases when you run on the fuel of curiosity and generosity.

The Jupiter-Uranus Formula for a true breakthrough:

* at every choice point, choose new over old, then boldly act on it
* be ready to bargain and negotiate your way to a better situation
* don’t simply sit back and wait for shiny things to drop in your lap, it will be too late-the wave will have passed
* be resourceful – sell old unwanted clutter to make energetic space for the new
* find Your Flow Magic – the sweet spot between surrender to life as it unfolds and full- on engagement/participation.
* notice what’s inspiring your imagination or pressing the accelerator on the engine of your creative expression
* plant an acorn that will grow into an oak tree. Remember, this is Taurus – the biggest gamble will take time and investment before you see the results.

Flowing? Yes.

Boats responding to the changing tides? True.

Transitioning to a better situation? Looks like it, if we take our time.

Steady On

After last week’s Death card, this week’s offering may be a continuation of whatever profound change might have occurred, especially in terms of processing and understanding its aftermath.

Although Swords are the realm of the mind, ideas, and communication, the boatman poles the vessel through the waters of dreams and the unconscious. And it may well be that the ferryman’s pole is the wand of magic and creativity.

So we have Air, Fire, and Water combining to help us make this journey. But the lands (Earth) ahead are only barely differentiated from the waters. Their solidity, or the outcome of this voyage, remains uncertain.

Perhaps this is literal travel, or a time of spiritual movement.

As is the case with all cards that feature multiple figures, we can choose which of these most closely resembles us. Who is the helper in a current situation that keeps the balance as he steers the boat to new shores? Who is the innocent one who looks ahead? Who might be the shrouded one, bent over with care?

What transitions are you making? Has some cherished idea run its course, or failed to come to fruition? What restoration of balance or new ways of seeing are called for?

If the past has been painful, we can at least be reassured that we are now able to truly leave it behind and help is offered to do so.

While it may be difficult to yet see the destination clearly, we are long past looking backwards.

There is no way but forward.

My card of the week is always a labor of love, but if you’d like to make a donation, I would be most grateful.

6 Luminous Sparks… add one

Leave a Comment

Sarah April 15, 2024, 10:08 pm

This is timely and consoling. Thank you Beth.

Beth April 16, 2024, 12:10 pm

You are most welcome. The end of the storm is in sight… may peaceful new shores offer solace.

Sara Stewart April 16, 2024, 11:53 am

Every time I see this card, the swords remind me of protection devices/guides along the path/handholds to help me safely out of the boat to continue my journey.

Beth April 16, 2024, 12:11 pm

Ah, Sara! I really like that idea. Thank you so much!

Marguerite April 16, 2024, 9:20 pm

Such beautiful insight and so calming after so many changes these days along with coming off the heels of the Death card. After several weeks of having to confront difficult situations that ultimately led to growth and comfort it is so nice to have a guide. ! I have always loved this card for this is one time I feel the security of the mighty swords and not need them for battle. So nice to relax and have time to gather your thoughts and look forward to the next chapter. Grateful always🦋💕

Beth April 17, 2024, 9:41 am

Yes, I love your view of this card, Marguerite! May this be a time betwixt and between for peaceful dreaming and quiet renewal. Blessings to you. 💚

is the new sexy.

~ Andrea Owen

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